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Help - My Dog has Fleas!

Updated on December 17, 2014

What do I do if my Dog has Fleas?

Fleas are a common problem for both cats and dogs. In fact, the most common flea that lives on dogs is the cat flea! My poor Jack Russell, Milo, was invaded by fleas when we moved to our new house. He could have picked them up from the garden or maybe they were a housewarming gift from the previous feline residents! I have put together answers to key flea questions in this Squidoo lens...

1. How do I tell if my dog has fleas?

2. How do I get rid of fleas on my dog?

3. How do I give my dog a flea bath?

4. Do fleas bite?

If you find that your dog has fleas, don't panic. It's not something that you have done wrong, or because your dog is dirty. It's actually quite common and fleas are just something that they pick up when out and about. Dogs can pick up fleas in the park or through contact with other dogs and cats quite easily in the summer season. It is easy to deal with once you have diagnosed the problem.

Of course, this is a blog from experience as a dog owner, not a professional, so before you give your dog any medication or treatment, always seek your vetenarians advice first.

Intro image credit:

How do I tell if my Dog has Fleas?

You can usually tell that your dog has fleas by the persistent scratching. You can also run your fingers (eugh!) or a flea comb through the dogs fur, and if you see small black dots they are probably flea dirts. You may even see those hungry menaces jumping off your poor pooch in severe cases.

How do I get rid of Fleas on my Dog? - Using a Flea Comb to remove Fleas from your dog

If your dog has fleas, you can remove fleas and flea eggs from your dog by using a flea comb. First of all, get a bowl of soapy water so that if you get fleas on the comb, you can drown them after removal, otherwise, these hungry fellas might just jump back onto your dog! When combing through your dogs fur, concentrate on the thickest parts of the fur around the tail and hind legs. You may also find a few on their back and by their will get to know the places that they like to 'hang out'!

This is a great way to remove fleas from young puppies or pregnant and nursing females, as you shouldn't use any treatments on them.

Four Paws Plastic Flea Dog Comb
Four Paws Plastic Flea Dog Comb

A flea comb will remove eggs as well as fleas from your dogs fur. Remember to dip the flea comb in soapy water so that they don't just jump back on your dog!


How do I get rid of Fleas on my Dog? - Giving your dog a flea bath!

If your dog has fleas, you can buy a special flea shampoo to get rid of fleas on your dog. Get a reputable brand such as Bob Martin, read the instructions and check with your vetenarian for advice before using products on your dog. This particular one that we used on Milo is suitable for dogs and puppies over 12 weeks old.

When you give your dog a flea bath, make sure that you lather it up and wash the underbelly of the dog as well as the top fur. You should see fleas coming off the poor pooch when you rinse! Make sure that your dog get properly dried after his flea bath, especially in the winter.

How do I get rid of Fleas on my Dog?

Using flea treatments

The most effective flea treatment for dogs that we have found is Frontline. It is best used every 6-8 weeks as prevention. Frontline is a flea treatment that you apply to the back of your dogs neck (so that he can't lick it off!). If your dog has fleas, frontline kills the fleas on your dog, and also prevents eggs from hatching. You can also use a flea collar that will slowly release flea treatment into your dogs fur.

Just a couple of things to be aware of. Don't use flea treatments on puppies (unless recommended by your vetenarian). It is also recommended that you do not use them on pregnant or nursing females. No dog should be treated before seeking medical advice from your vet. Also, be aware NOT to give your dog a treatment such as frontline AND a flea collar, as you will be doubling the dose which could be harmful to your dog. Flea collars contain chemicals that can kill fish and be harmful to the environment, so dispose of them very carefully. Finally, make sure that you read all instructions carefully before treating your dog.


Fleas can bite Humans too!

Do fleas bite?

Do fleas bite dogs? Yes, absolutely! Fleas are a parasite, they bite your dog to get blood to live on. In excessive flea infestations, and this can cause your dog to have sore skin. Female fleas must have a 'blood meal' before they can lay eggs (eugh!). Flea bites will be itchy and uncomfortable for your dog. Have a look on your dogs underbelly, you may see flea bites there.

Can fleas bite humans? Unfortunately, yes! They can bite humans. So if there are fleas in your sofa, bed or carpet, watch out! Fleas can live without being on an animal for up to 7 days. After that, they will die without a blood supply. Fleas can jump off soft furnishings and onto humans and bite them (eugh!). But fleas cannot live on humans, because they need an animal with fur to live off, such as a cat or dog. This is why if your pet has fleas, you must remove the fleas from bedding and the whole environment before you can be sure that they have gone.

Don't forget to de-flea the House!

Fleas can be quite persistent and live on your carpets, then jump back onto your dog! If you have had a serious flea infestation, you will want to de-flea the house, with a focus on carpets, upholstry and the dogs bedding.

Wash the dogs bed on a high temperature. You can get flea powders to leave on the carpets and then hoover up, but don't let animals or children into the flea powdered room until a couple of hours after the process is complete. You can also get a spray such as Indorex, which you can spray around the edges of the room. If things are really bad, you can do a FLEA BOMB! But you need to completely seal the room before you let it off (no - not with any people or animals in it, for sure!). When you let the flea bomb off, vacate the room, and re seal. I would suggest that you, your family and your dog all go out for a nice walk or outing at this point! The stuff can be quite toxic!

Again, just make sure that you seek advice from the vet and read instructions carefully. This stuff can be quite strong and you need to look after all family members, children and other animals as well as your dog during this process!

Give me a woof..... or even a meow! - Leave your feedback on 'Help! My dog has Fleas!

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    • profile image

      tonyleather 4 years ago

      Excellent advice in this informative lens. Thanks!

    • profile image

      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      For awhile we lived in the desert, and our dog had no fleas! They die in the desert.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 4 years ago

      We're always battling fleas with our indoor/outdoor cats. They especially love to bite our fluffy Siamese cat. I don't often resort to pesticides, but nothing natural has helped her. A monthly topical Fipronil/Etofenprox application does the trick.

    • profile image

      ScentsWithBling 4 years ago

      Great lens. I don't use chemicals of any kind on my dogs and it has become quite a trick to keep fleas off of them. On top of that, they are allergic to fleas and break out and itch like crazy. I use essential oils on them. there are several that are flea repellents but have not found one that will kill them. Lavender, eucalyptus and lemon oils are good ones to try. I put them on neat as well as diluted in a spray bottle with water. It takes vigilance, but fleas can be conquered!

    • amytrumpeter profile image

      Amy Trumpeter 5 years ago from Oxford

      @Shoputopian: Thanks!

    • Shoputopian profile image

      Karnel 5 years ago from Lower Mainland of BC

      I've been lucky both of dogs have never had fleas, great lens.

    • sue826 lm profile image

      sue826 lm 5 years ago

      Good lens. Fleas are a curse. I'm allergic to their bites so I completely understand how a dog feels.

    • malena10 profile image

      malena10 5 years ago

      I think Frontline is the best solution, I use it for my cat.

    • Countryluthier profile image

      E L Seaton 5 years ago from Virginia

      Been there got the bite marks (from the fleas that is). Great lens and thanks for sharing. We have a hamster now and I find myself looking at the cage wondering.... will fleas attack Jiggles our pet?

    • flinnie lm profile image

      Gloria Freeman 5 years ago from Alabama USA

      Hi I have two dogs and have to deal with fleas too. Great info on getting ride of fleas, my dogs do not like bath as much as your dog.

    • profile image

      AnimalHouse 5 years ago

      I found this lens very informative! Thank you for sharing those flea and tick control items.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi from Twitter friend. Good info, great lens

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 5 years ago

      We don't have any dog at the moment. Might have to check the rabbit for fleas, though.

    • amytrumpeter profile image

      Amy Trumpeter 5 years ago from Oxford

      @anonymous: Hi Dave, thanks for the comment! Glad you liked my lens :-). It will depend on how old she is. As far as I know, no treatment is suitable for puppies under 4 weeks and most flea shampoos are unsuitable for those under 12 weeks (this is the case with the Bob Martin one used on Milo!) If she is a bit older and the flea combing doesn't work, your vet may be able to recommend a treatment for her age group. I might add a section on this to my lens. Don't forget to de-flea the house!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hi, Amy! I'm so glad I found this lens. Our family has a new puppy and unfortunately she has fleas. I was about to look into getting a flea treatment for her, not knowing that treatments shouldn't be used on puppies. Thanks for educating me about this! I will bathe her the way you described instead.